Students Join Volunteers To Help Our Campus Flourish
June 30, 2021
This past year, our community volunteers found so many creative ways to stay connected and involved. Many found their time and love pouring into one of the newer additions to campus–our library gardens. Since the gardens just turned one year old this summer, this year is the first time that it has had volunteer tending to its plants and foraging its vegetables. While there are currently five dedicated parent volunteers, more recently, several Upper and Middle School student volunteers are spending their time taking care of our beloved outdoor space, too!
“The energy is wonderful. Cassie Atkinson has spearheaded the organization of things like the watering schedule (which is no small feat!), she has brought ideas and she even brought her Mum along, who spent a good couple of hours weeding,” said MPA parent and volunteer Michelle Mick. Read More
Two MPA Siblings’ Experience In The COVID-19 Vaccine Trial
June 3, 2021
by The Biring Family, featuring ninth grader Devneet and eighth grader Navreen!
COVID-19 has forever changed our world. What began as a scary unknown more than 18 months ago has now been largely conquered by vaccines that have given our country and the rest of the world a fighting chance to defeat this virus. The first vaccines against COVID-19 were approved for use in adults (and people ages 16 and above in the case of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine) in December 2020 with initial vaccines being given to high-risk groups including healthcare workers and elderly patients.
When our kids first found out that the vaccines had received emergency use authorization, they were excited! But that excitement quickly abated when they realized that vaccinations for younger populations were not likely to be available until at least the summer. Devneet and Navreen asked why would it take so long for them to get vaccinated, and we explained that there would need to be trials in the younger populations before the vaccines would be given to children. At that time, there were reports that it was difficult to get the necessary recruitment numbers for trials in children. Devneet and Navreen asked us if there was any possibility that they could be part of a trial. As vaccine rollouts continued in adults, both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine trial recruitments were underway for younger populations in various cities across the country. We found out that one of the city sites for the Moderna adolescent study was Minneapolis, and we inquired about details of the study.
Moderna began enrolling adolescents, ages 12-17, in a Phase 3 trial across the United States to evaluate the efficacy and safety of their COVID-19 vaccine. The trial is comprised of 3000 adolescents in a blinded study with 2/3 of volunteers receiving vaccine and 1/3 receiving placebo. This 13-month trial requires five clinic visits with two injections (at the initial appointment and one month later), four blood draws, four nasopharyngeal swabs, and electronic diary submissions. The trial will end in the spring of 2022. Read More
MPA Eighth Graders Making An Impact
May 20, 2021
In conjunction with their human rights research paper in social studies class, eighth graders researched charities aligning with a chosen human rights issue in their English classes using Charity Navigator and their charity’s website. Then, combining the rhetorical appeals of ethos, pathos, and logos, they created a TED Talk, speech, video, or print ad to persuade their peers to vote for their charity. Each of the three winners, Alex B., on behalf of The Sierra Club Foundation, Steve L. on behalf of Save the Children, and Zoya N. on behalf of Equal Justice USA, won a $50 donation to their charity from Ms. Atchison.
“Climate change affects everything in our lives, and will only get worse from now on,” says Alex. “The Sierra Club Foundation is a leading member in the fight to solve climate change and make life better for everyone. They work towards climate solutions and they fight for environmental and social justice.” 86.9% of all donations go to directly to helping the Sierra Club’s four main programs: lands, air, water and wildlife!
The $50 donation to Steve’s charity Save The Children will provide meals to three children for an entire month. “What if every time you ate, you had to roll the dice to see if you were or not? Save The Children fights for the safety and future of the most unfortunate kids and gives every child, even the ones hardest to reach, voices,” says Steve.
Equal Justice USA fights for meaningful change and works at the intersection of criminal justice, public health and racial justice. “It’s insufferable that after so many years following the abolishment of slavery, systemic racism still thrives in our institutions and on our streets,” says Zoya. “All of us have heard case after case of police brutality, especially as Minnesotans. EJ USA meets the needs of survivors, advances racial equity, and works to abolish police brutality.”
Talking With Children About Anti-Racism With Dr. Jazlynn Paige
May 13, 2021
Dr. Jazlynn Paige is a school psychologist who has her own consulting firm Paige Psychological Consulting, which was founded in 2019. Dr. Paige shared tips for engaging children in difficult conversations about race, racism, and anti-racism with our community during a live parent education session. The thoughts she shared during that session are summarized below for families unable to attend.
Focus On Your Family
Every family is different and everyone has their own perspective with regard to how they view talking about race, racism, and anti-racism. Everyone is coming from a different background. For some families, these are very uncomfortable conversations, and for others they are much easier. But talking about it is important because no matter what age, children are experiencing ideas around race regardless of whether they are being discussed at home or not. Read More
Why MPA Parent Susan Knapp Volunteers
May 13, 2021
by Susan Knapp (parent of Parker in ninth grade)
For the kids. There is something magical in seeing the joy on the kids’ faces, knowing you had a part in generating that. It’s a great way to get a glimpse into your child’s life at school—at least until they’re teens and don’t want you around at school. See what they’re like with their friends, get to know their class a little better, experience their camaraderie, their joy, and gratitude for the extras volunteers provide.
For the sheer joy of being a part of something bigger. One of the best experiences I’ve had volunteering was being involved in the MS Café. Using my talents and time in ways that I don’t normally has been very rewarding. I loved the teamwork, meeting the challenges, the creativity, and the gratitude and wonder on the kids’ faces as they walked into all of our hard work for the very first time. It was a labor of love and totally worth it. Another great experience was manning the snack room in pre-COVID teacher appreciation week. It’s a very fun way of meeting teachers and staff members, surrounded by sugar and snacks and gratitude. What can be better than that?! Read More
Boys Volleyball Finds Joy In Inaugural Season
May 10, 2021
When the Panthers girls volleyball team qualified for the MSHSL State Tournament in 2019, their achievement inspired many in the MPA community. Among those were a group of Upper School boys who saw their own future in volleyball. Fast forward two years, and the team is now competing in its first season this spring. “A lot of us had an initial interest in the sport, and we had watched it at the high school, college and professional levels,” recalls senior Callum Jones. We talked to the athletics department, started practicing, and asked (MPA Spanish teacher) Mrs. Kunze to be our coach. When she agreed, we got going.” Read More